Soviet Side Door Eats

MTSluzhebny Vkhod has the feel of a Soviet ministerial restaurant.
Sluzhebny Vkhod is the latest retro-Soviet eatery to appear in Moscow, having opened just over a month ago. And it is probably now the capital's most impressive example of the genre -- something of a cross between Shchit i Mech and Glavpivtorg.

Like at the security-service themed Shchit i Mech, the entrance of Sluzhebny Vkhod feels like a museum's exhibition hall, which is not surprising given that the entrance is lined with cases displaying numerous souvenirs and curios apparently taken from the Lenin Komsomol Museum. The main room, on the other hand, more closely resembles Glavpivtorg's ministerial style. Small shelves with more Soviet knickknacks continue the entryway's motif, while oil paintings of Red Square, several white Roman columns, elaborate brass fence-like dividers and dramatic brass chandeliers provide a diplomatic touch. The tables come draped with starched white tablecloths and there are even silver napkin rings. At one end of the hall is an enormous projection screen where classic Soviet films are shown. Moreover, the restaurant was apparently once the location of the former Marxism-Leninism Institute's cafeteria.

Predictably, the menu features mainly Soviet standards, complete with prices listed right down to the kopeck. Starters include porcini marinated with oil and onion (361.32 rubles), sprats with a spicy sauce (89.90 rubles) and boiled beef tongue with cream of horseradish (168 rubles). Salads include the legendary Stolichny (172.20 rubles), crab salad (905 rubles) and in a nod to modern day Moscow, a Caesar (295.50 rubles). Soups include porcini soup (355.30 rubles) and cabbage shchi (145.04 rubles). Meat mains start at 245.30 rubles for chicken giblets braised with onion, while seafood begin at 398.60 rubles for salmon steak. Vodka starts at 100 rubles for 50 grams, while the only draft beer available on a recent visit was Krusovice at 170 rubles a half-liter.

Sluzhebny Vkhod: 15 Ul. Bolshaya Dmitrovka,
692-8997, 6622467, 11 a.m.-midnight, M. Pushkinskaya.